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News > Who may shop at AAFES? Federal law, necessity, govern use of Edward's AAFES facilities
Who may shop at AAFES? Federal law, necessity, govern use of Edward's AAFES facilities

Posted 4/28/2010   Updated 4/28/2010 Email story   Print story


by 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/28/2010 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- In its enduring mission to provide quality merchandise and services to its customers at competitive prices and to generate earnings that support morale, welfare and recreation programs, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service strives to be its customers' first choice for shopping.

Question is, on Edwards Air Force Base, who are AAFES authorized customers?

Who are AAFES authorized customers?

AAFES follows very specific laws and rules as to who can shop at its facilities, primarily because of its tax-exempt status and its core mission to serve the military community. For this reason, all patrons must show a DoD issued photo identification card to verify their eligibility.

United States Code Title 10, the outline and instruction for the function, management and operation of the armed forces, provides part of the answer. Under U.S.C. Title 10, Department of Defense Instruction 1330.21, the Armed Services Exchange Regulations, lists 18 categories for each of the authorized patrons with unlimited exchange privileges and of the authorized patrons with limited exchange privileges.

To be entitled to unlimited AAFES access at stateside facilities, one must be in the military (in an active or reserve component), have served in the military, or be an eligible dependent of someone who does or has.

Just gaining access to a base or post does not automatically entitle one to AAFES benefits.

DODI 1330.21, Enclosure 6, lists the authorized patrons who have unlimited exchange privileges in the continental United States. At the top of the list is Edwards' exchanges' primary customer base: active duty and reserve uniformed and retired military members, and their immediate eligible family members.

Authorized patrons who have limited exchange privileges in the United States (including all commonwealths, possessions, and territories of the United States, except as noted in the DoD instruction form a more extensive listing that provides specific access-for-cause, which is often temporary in nature. Air Force Instruction 34-211, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Operations, provides specifics as to when and what privileges are applicable.

Some AAFES facilities, such as the BX food court and other contracted food service vendors, (Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Pizza Hut, etc.) may sell to anyone on base, including those visiting the installation. The NASA Dryden food court is a good example of where tourists visiting the base will normally gather for lunch while on a base tour. However, the food and beverages purchased must be consumed on base.

DoD civilians allowed limited access

In 1997 the Secretary of the Air Force authorized Edwards' DoD civilians, those under General Schedule, National Security Personnel System, Non-appropriated Funds and others, to shop at AAFES facilities for a number of specifically authorized items.
In a Secretary of the Air Force memorandum dated June 28, the Secretary approved Edwards' request to allow DoD civilians limited shopping privileges at AAFES facilities. Privileges are restricted to the purchase of care and comfort items, personal hygiene items, motor vehicle fuel and essential parts and purchases. Tobacco products and alcoholic beverages were specifically prohibited from this limited purchase authority.

In March 2009 per a Policy Memo, the 95th Air Base Wing commander further clarified that DoD civilians working on Edwards have greater access to sundry items due to their limited availability immediately off the installation. The list includes food and snack items, non-alcoholic drinks, personal hygiene items (comb and brush, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, feminine products, hair spray, mousse, shampoo, soap, and headache relievers such as Aspirin and Tylenol) magazines, books, newspapers, greeting cards, shoe laces, socks, hose, shoe polish, gasoline and car care requests.

Certain emergency items, such as children's and work clothing, may also be purchased to maintain the employee or their dependant throughout the day.

Others, contract employees in this case, who have a "hardship," have limited access to AAFES facilities.

The availability of AAFES services to base contractors is fairly self-evident. Contractors who are not recognized in a category of limited or unlimited exchange patrons may exercise the same AAFES privileges offered to installation visitors. In short, contractors may not normally use the Base Exchange, Shoppette or Base Service Station because they work for a private company, not directly for the DoD.

One provision that allows contractors and other visitors to Edwards limited access to AAFES facilities is "Hardship." In AFI 34-211(I), "Hardship" is defined at Table 6-2, as "otherwise unauthorized person(s) stranded on an installation," to whom "small quantities of gasoline, oil, other automotive items, or items necessary for an individual's health," may be sold.

This provision exists to alleviate the immediate and unexpected needs of Edwards' contractor workforce until a remedy may reasonably be sought off base. Requests for these emergency services are normally worked through the government supervisor directly with AAFES facility management for accommodation.

According to Russ Hinrichs, Edward's AAFES general manager, the rules are not meant to restrict so much as preserve the privileges for authorized patrons.

"We strive to serve every employee here at Edwards, but the laws and regulations that dictate what can and cannot be done must be adhered to in order to protect the privileges for our service members," he said. "There are others (contractors) who are certainly part of our total force and the eating facilities on base are always open to them."

"If an emergency arises, no one will be turned away from AAFES," he said.

For further information consult Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 1330.21, the Armed Services Exchange Regulations, and Air Force Instruction 34-211, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, Army and Air Force Exchange Service Operations.

9/26/2012 4:32:14 PM ET
I AM a contractor for Affes. I was turned away before. My car ran overheated I asked if I could by antifreeze for my vehicle. They said no. So I had to call a tow truck. I worked on base for years and was turned down and stranded. Its not true Affes will turn you away.
randy, lackland afb
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